Thursday, March 28, 2013

Grant Green - Green Street (1961)

Grant Green is a Jazz guitarist who, unlike most of his kind, derives his influence and method of playing from horn players (namely Parker and Davis) and not guitar players. This, and the fact that Green was a superb blues interpreter, makes his playing indistinguishable. It is rare that a guitarist avoids chordal playing and instead uses a kind of single-note linearity, but Green's technical skill makes it work. To me, a lot of Green compositions and performances would not sound very different if played by a trumped. More importantly, Green's playing is just cool. It's the perfect soundtrack for a lazy afternoon-- and Green Street is one of the albums that better reflects this characteristic.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The 6ths - Wasps' Nest (1995)

Before he decided to abandon synthesizers, before he decided to spend an entire album trying to be the Jesus and Mary Chain, and before everyone fell in love with "69 Love Songs", Stephen Merritt was just content to write charming and witty synth-based pop songs. While the Magnetic Field's first five albums (from 1991's "Distant Plastic Trees" to 1995's "Get Lost") are almost unparalleled in terms 90's Indie Pop, Merritt was extremely prolific, not only working with the Magnetic Fields, but also with Future Bible Heroes, the Gothic Archies, and this project - the 6ths. While most of the Field's albums post-"The Wayward Bus" featured just Stephen singing, up until 1999's "69 Love Songs", the 6ths takes a markedly different turn, with Stephen still handling all the lyricism and songwriting, but recruiting some veritable indie greats to handle the singing - Mary Timony of Helium, Lou Barlow of Dinosaur Jr, Georgia Hubley of Yo La Tengo, and probably my favorite feature, Amelia Fletcher of Talulah Gosh and Heavenly!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Kitchen's Floor - Loneliness Is a Dirty Mattress (2009)

Kitchen's Floor 2009 début album "Loneliness Is a Dirty Mattress" is a statement of art as a form of fun, destruction and instantness. These Australian mini-jam masters have contributed to both the modernization and revival of lo-fi garage punk. All of the songs on this album clock under 2:30 and all of them are nods to the 80's post punk scene, 90's garage-rock scene and the 60's underground proto-punk scene. Kitchen's Floor collides these influences with some bleak irony to overhaul the charming inconsistency of their simplistic song-writing. The vocal-guitar chemistry is the essence of this album.

Cerberus Shoal - The Land We All Believe In (2005)

Cerberus Shoal started life as a post-rock band, before morphing and becoming even more tripped out, going from experimental rock to bizarre psych folk, and then settling into their avant-folk/freak folk mould. "The Land We All Believe In" is, without a doubt, their magnum opus, and one of my favorite folk albums of the last decade.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Yannis Kyriakides - Antichamber (2010)

Yannis Kyriakides - Antichamber (2010)

Yannis Kyriakides is a genius composer. His compositions are masterpieces of 21st century classical music. This 2-disc album collects 10 such compositions, each averaging around 15 minutes in length.
One thing Kyriakides is proficient in is textures - and boy do the textures shine on this album, especially in the enclosed sample. The live electronics really enhance the music, making it more textureful, turning what would be somewhat interesting minimalist pieces into electro-acoustic masterpieces. If you're expecting some sort of Stockhausian nightmare, don’t fret - this is some beautiful stuff.
Highlights include “Telegraphic” for flute, cello, trombone, synth, bass clarinet, contrabass, telegraphic keys, & amplification, a very polyrhythmic minimalist piece; “Chaoids” for alto saxophone, violin, & vibraphone, a theme which repeats itself, gradually growing more and more dissonant as it goes along, reminiscent of Albert Ayler; and “Pneuma” for bassoon, cello, & piano, a very jazzy piece in which the basoon and piano play off each-other beautifully.!koVnQJpb!YX8wRVcLHw_osUpfBrfQFmhmObQGs2_0nXxiCjHNo9s

Trist – Willenskraft (2009)

There are two bands with the name Trist, the more famous one a depressive black metal band from the Czech Republic, and this one, an ambient black metal band from Germany. It was formed by Tristan from Lunar Aurora, a black metal band that received quite a lot of praise for their 2012 album Hoagascht. You can draw lines between Lunar Auroras sound and the sound that Tristan creates on Willenskraft, both are ambient black metal bands that rely heavily on atmosphere and a sound that is eerie, and depressive rather than aggressive. Of course there will always be a certain level of aggression in black metal, Trist is not an exception, but with this album the aggression is internal, a battle against oneself.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Mercury Rev - Yerself Is Steam (1991)

Mercury Rev, hailing from New York, USA, originally formed to soundtrack their experimental films, but at the insistence of experimental filmmaker and composer Tony Conrad (who's work with Faust will definitely see the spotlight sometime on this blog), released this, their debut album. Their follow up, "Boces" was another magnificent album, following the wild psychedelic noise rock blue print thrown down by "Yerself is Steam", but sadly for fans, after singer David Baker left the group, they became far more tame and timid, although they did receive. But "Yerself is Steam" and "Boces" still stand out amongst the teeming masses of bands that populate the Underground Rock scene of the early 90s as two albums that are so unique and sound fresh and bizarre even by todays standards.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Nicolas Collins - Devil’s Music (1986)

Nicolas Collins - Devil’s Music (1986)

“Devil’s Music” is possibly the first glitch album, and one of the best. The way the samples all bounce off eachother and create a symphony of sound is fantastic. How was such complex music created at the time? From Collins’ website:
“...It developed in 1985 out of the confluence of my fascination with early Hip Hop DJs, a Cagean love of the splendor of radio, the introduction of the first affordable, portable samplers, and a simple home-made “stuttering circuit” (inspired, perhaps, by my years as a student of Alvin Lucier.) In Devil’s Music, the performer sweeps the radio dial in search of suitable material, which is
sampled in snippets of one second or less. These are then looped, layered and
de-tuned. The stuttering circuit “re-rhythmitizes” the samples by retriggering
and reversing the loops in response to accents in the rhythm of the ongoing (but
usually unheard) flow of signal out of the radio.”
“Devil’s Music A” is based mostly on dance stations. “Devil’s Music B” is based more on easy listening and classical stations.
This 2009 reissue also includes 3 bonus tracks: “The Spark Heard ‘Round The World’”, a tape piece, and “Real Landscapes” (live recordings of the album’s European tour) parts 1 & 2. OUTDOOROUTOUTDOORSWIMMINGPOOLSOUT

Monday, March 18, 2013

Food For Animals - Belly (2008)

One thing I love to see in Hip Hop is an incorporation of Noise or Industrial music to the production, unfortunately acts like those seem so few and far between. Groups like dälek will be remembered for their brave and caustic production, and there are more newcomers like clipping who are trying to forge a name for themselves with frantic Harsh Noise being incorporated into his music. Food For Animals is another one of those rare bands. They are a Noise-Hop trio from D.C. who released their first, and as of now only, full length album in 2008.  Their tendency to incorporate Glitch and Harsh Noise into their Hip Hop creates a really stunning sound.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Shelley Hirsch - O Little Town of East New York (1995)

Shelley Hirsch is an American performer from New York. She's been involved in various areas of the arts - from theatre, to film, and, most importantly, music. She first began working in an experimental theatre troupe, but went on to study some more experimental and extended vocal techniques.  A lot of those ideas are explored on this extremely bizarre, interesting and unique album.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Don Cherry- Eternal Rhythm (1968)

After stepping out of Ornette Coleman’s shadow and into his bandleader shoes, Don Cherry released a string of increasingly avant-garde recordings that each played a crucial role in the development of his sound and individuality.  This growth culminated with Eternal Rhythm, a flourishing work that established Cherry as an essential trumpeter of the 60s avant-garde jazz scene and an innovator of a new sound all his own.  Combining post-bop, free jazz, blues, Gamelan, and other world music elements, Eternal Rhythm is an absolute whirlwind of sound that ebbs and flows between disparate genres with an effortless flick of a wrist.

Dark Sky - Black Rainbows (2012)

Dark Sky are a Dubstep/UK Bass trio from South London that have been producing since late 2009. Their work as Dubstep artists shines through many other young producers that started in London around the same time because of their unique style of Tribal-influenced Techno crossed over with the typical 2step Garage style of Dubstep. In this EP, Dark Sky showcase a UK Funky-esque collection of tracks that despite their bubbly synthlines and Wonky song structure retain certain key elements of a classic Dubstep sound, that doesn't mean that these four tracks are that similar though, Tremor feels a lot more House and Techno-oriented while Zoom is more of a straight up Dubstep tune with a classic London bassline. The eclecticism displayed from Dark Sky even in such a small release really says a lot for these UK producers.

Gregg Kowalsky - Tape Chants (2009)

Gregg Kowalsky, Florida drone craftsman and Kranky native, has, with Tape Chants, what is undoubtedly his magnum opus. Indeed it stands as a quiet, largely un-witnessed statement to the entirety of contemporary ambient and drone in its ineptitude and stale demeanor. Its dialectical tension of force and resignation, of repetition and novelty, stand to challenge and take to the end the Enoian doctrine of music “as ignorable as it is interesting.” What is interesting, Kowalsky shows, is so because it reciprocally negates its own ignorance.

Intersystems - Peachy (1967)

Intersystems is a Canadian experimental and musique concrete group whose music, despite being released as early as 1967, still defies specific classification. Peachy came out in late 1967, after their previous 1967 album “Number One”. The combination of Blake Parker’s dystopian narratives and John Mills-Cockell’s flittering sound collages and noise experiments create a heartless and fantastical world that is as self-aware as it is nihilistic. The album opens with the resonant dings of bells and banging of pipes, along with a low organ. The track later drops off into sounds of shuffling, which ping pong across both headphones. The next track picks up where the previous left off, featuring more of the same with the addition of the sounds of an old record being played, and some groans growls made directly into the microphone. Noisy, brutish cackles can be heard in the background emerging.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Wolf Eyes - Always Wrong (2009)

On occasion, a scene will vomit up a deranged, screwed up band full of strange strange people who will make strange, strange music that will make you question where the line between pointlessly edgy or insane and ingenious is. Or make you question if there's even a line at all. On an even more rare occasion will that band will succeed in mocking the line between vulgar and brilliant and not just end up on the overly-crude side of the line. I believe that Wolf Eyes is one of those band who can successfully balance the two.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Peter Walker - Rainy Day Raga (1966)

1966 was a very exciting year for music. Frank Zappa's Freak Out!, Bob Dylan's Blonde on Blonde, The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds, The Beatles' Revolver. The pop-folk explosion was dying out from the onslaught of the British invasion, but the remaining survivors went with the changes. Home to this sort of transitional period was none other than Vanguard Records, originally the folk label of the Greenwich Village scene. Psychedelia and experimentation became more and more prominent on this label, with artists such as Sandy Bull and Country Joe & The Fish. My personal favorite from this period and from the year 1966 is Peter Walker's Rainy Day Raga.

Joe Harriot - Free Form (1960)

 Joe Harriot - Free Form

(Jazzland JLP 49, 1960) [FLAC]

free jazz, avant-garde jazz

          A milestone not in free jazz alone but a revolution in everything in what we thought we knew about jazz. Harriot's album Free Form, is often overlooked and left by the wayside with most jazz listeners. Often compared to the infamous Free Jazz, by the great Ornette Coleman. Both of which these works were the foundations of free jazz as we know it today. There are some minor differences with the two works. Ornette took a rather belligerent take with his album (hereby setting the standard of most free jazz to come), whereas Harriot went for a more conventional approach and laid back in prospective to most free jazz after it.

John Fahey - Requia (1967)

John Fahey is an American Guitarist, famed for blending a series of styles in order to create "American Primitivism", and really re-popularized the guitar as a Concert Instrument rather than just fodder for ever unimaginative blues and rock'n'roll band, and in my mind, is one of the most interesting musical figures of the later part of the 20th century.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Hospitals - Hairdryer Peace (2008)

The Hospitals are a band from San Francisco who, since 2002 have released 3 wonderfully deranged albums. Their sound could best be described as Noise Rock, albeit they are certainly a lot more aggressive than a lot of Noise Rock bands out there. Another, more fun term, is "Shitgaze," a genre which is basically the bastard child of Noise, Shoegaze, and Lo-Fi music. The band also has a bit of a Garage Rock influence, which doesn't come as much of a surprise since the band formerly had member John Dwyer, who now fronts for Garage Rock band Thee Oh Sees. The band can really offer their own demented and harsh version of Noise Rock, which is especially shown in this album, and they really don't hold back.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Der Blutharsch - Der Sieg des Lichtes ist des Lebens Heil (1998)

Der Blutharsch is the primary musical project of Austrian musician Albin Julius. Named after a Swiss mercenary company, the project is about as martial industrial as you can get. Using various voice recordings, usually in German, as well as varied samples of instrumentations, Der Blutharsch distances it self from more poppy martial industrial projects (sometimes called Military Pop) like Derniére Volonté by being more abstract in its aim and certainly more industrial in its sound. For me, the appeal of Der Blutharsch is Julius' ability to mix various sounds and samples to create a very special atmosphere, one that is very well represented by the cover of their sophomore album, Der Sieg des Lichtes ist des Lebens Heil. While it has its dull moments, Der Sieg manages to successfully create a gritty feeling of war and conflict.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Spoils of War - The Spoils of War (1969)

The Spoils of War was an Experimental Psychedelic Rock group which remained completely under the radar throughout the 60s and 70s. Though the advent of the internet has allowed us to learn a lot more about previously unheard of bands like The Spoils of Wars, we still know very little about them. What we do know is that the band was headed by a man names James Cuomo who, as it seems, was a bit of a control freak, in the sense that he was in charge of nearly all parts of the album, he wrote all of the songs, wrote the lyrics for most, and performed a lot of different instruments on a lot of the tracks, he was also the producer. We also know that the group released at least two albums, The Spoils of War and The Spoils of War II. Other than that details on the group are very murky. One thing that is more obvious is how ahead of its time the album is.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Meme - Chitotetochi (2005)

Meme (めめ) is a Japanese avant-folk/freak-folk duo formed by Sachie Yoda and Youyou. "Chitotetochi" is their first and only album and it is avant-folk in every sense of the word. Combining eccentric vocals and applying idiosyncratic instrumentation that is still faithful to both folk and avant-garde/experimental sensibilities, Sachie and Youyou have given birth to an original and compelling folk statement that will continue to caress listeners from future generations.

Radicalfashion- Odori (2007)

Under the name Radicalfashion, Japanese pianist/programmer Hirohito Ihara crafted a special album that was simultaneously both unassuming and wildly inventive.  Combining glitch, neo-classical elements, simplistic piano, and musique concrete, Odori is a quick 30 minutes that floats from one idea to another, effortlessly shifting from carefree to contemplative to profound. 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Graham Lambkin - Salmon Run (2007)

Graham Lambkin is an experimental musician from the UK, famed for having worked with Jason Lescalleet, and on his 2007 album Salmon Run, he has crafted what is, in my opinion, one of the best Musique Concrète albums of all time.

Nic Jones - Penguin Eggs (1980)

I was first introduced to Nic Jones through Peter Bellamy's Transports, an album that I shared on this blog once before. Needless to say I was hooked from the very moment I heard him sing "Us Poor Fellows". I thought he had one of the most angelic voices I had heard, and I had yet to learn about his guitar style. This album is truly a masterpiece of any sort of folk-traditional-acoustic-singer-songwriter style of music.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Flux of Pink Indians - The Fucking Cunts Treat Us Like Pricks (1984)

Flux of Pink Indians were an Anarcho-Punk band formed circa 1980 in England. Their relatively short career  which ended in 1987, saw the release of 3 politically fueled, noisey Punk albums. The band was previously known as The Epileptics (and later Epi-X after some British association regarding epilepsy started whining about their name) a couple years prior to changing their name to Flux of Pink Indians. They were certainly one of the better bands to come out of the Anarcho-Punk scene in the early 70's/late 80's. Anarcho-Punk itself helped shape other popular genres such as Grindcore or Crust Punk. It also helped in the foundation of Folk-Punk, which in turn shaped Indie-Folk as it is today. I've always found it interesting how genres that seem so different, like Anarcho-Punk and Indie-Folk, can still end up being very related.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Family Fodder - Monkey Banana Kitchen (1980)

Family Fodder was a band formed in the 70's whose sound could most easily be described as Post-Punk. Being an earlier band of Post-Punk usually equates to being relatively experimental and unlike most post-punk today, this is definitely true for Family Fodder. One thing interesting about this band is that they were led neither by a guitarist nor a vocalist, but by an accordionist Alig Fodder (whose real name is John Pearce) who still leads the band to this day. From 1979 to 1983 the band released 14 pieces of music, of which only 3 were full length albums. Since the group's reformation in 1999 they have released an additional 2 album, Water Shed, and Classical Music.

Koji Asano - The Last Shade Of Evening Falls (2000)

"The Last Shade of Evening Falls" is a monolithic electroacoustic drone work totaling 260 minutes in length, each part around 60-70 minutes in length. This .ZIP collects all four parts.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Add N to (X) - Avant Hard (1999)

Avant Hard is the third album released by the British electronic music trio Add N to (X). It's an album of many words to say the least, its essence can only be truly captured by experiencing it after repeated listens and reflections. It's a necessary compilation of claustrophobic and vintage-sounding electronics that are violently and chaotically arranged for pure fun and style. The cluster of electronic anarchies on this album is very foggy and even unclear at times (not that this is necessarily bad), it seems like Add N to (X) has invented a new style of composition, a controlled mess of lawlessness and revolutionary orgies. The track titles are terribly ironic yet fitting regarding the album's music, they range from silly phrases like "Steve's Going to Teach Himself Who's Boss" to post-future sentences like "Machine Is Bored With Love" as if a realization of destruction and playfulness were applied through the trajectory of this album. Fun and abolition are the key words to this album.

Momus - Blibliotek (2012)

Momus is back for another review, this time for his 2012 album Bibliotek. For those of you who didn't read my first review of his debut album Circus Maximus, Momus (who also quite fittingly named himself after the Greek god of mockery) is an author and a musician, born in Scotland in 1960, he's consistently released music as Momus since 1986. Even the loss of the use of his right eye in 1997 didn't stop Momus from keeping up a pretty prolific discography and from writing for magazines like Wired and Vice. One of the great things about him is that he offers an ever changing sound, as we'll see in this album.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Tiere der Nacht - Hot Stuff (1991)

Tiere der Nacht (literally "Animals of the Night") was a band that could probably best be described as Krautrock (albeit Krautrock is more of a scene than a genre, I've always considered it a genre). The band consisted of  Mani Neumeier and Luigi Archetti who together released 5 albums as Tiere der Nacht from 1991 to 2005. Before Tiere der Nacht, Neumeier led successful Krautrock band Guru Guru, Luigi was also a member of the band at one point, but he also had a pretty strong solo career. The duo's experience really shows in this hidden gem.

Mong Hang - Debakata (2005)

Mong Hang are an Avant-Prog group from Japan, and on their third album, Debakata, they have produced one of the most unique and unhinged avant-prog records of the past decade.

Isao Tomita - Snowflakes Are Dancing: Electronic Performances of Debussy's Tone Paintings (1974)

Isao Tomita is a Japanese synthesizer-guru famous for arranging famous romantic, expressionist and modern classical pieces to the electric synthesizer. Of course, this statement alone sounds bland by itself but that is where Tomita's genius comes in. Tomita very cleverly unclusters every one of Debussy's waterfall-esque  verses into a futurist blue landscape of elegance and rush.  

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Spires That in the Sunset Rise - This Is Fire (2006)

This Is Fire is the third release from the all-female Illinois Freak Folk band Spires That in the Sunset Rise. Since 2001 the band has released 5 albums and gone on quite a few tours. I'm not quite sure what the artwork for this album is depicting, but I still find it very fitting with the whole sound of the album and I quite like it. They manage to get a wonderfully trippy, psychedelic atmosphere. The wonderful hypnotic vocals and droning instruments give them their very interesting texture. 

Bill Orcutt - Way Down South (2010)

Way Down South was an EP released in 2010 by Bill Orcutt, who was the former guitarist of Noise Rock band Harry Pussy. It really shows in this noisy and bluesy acoustic Free Folk album. The album is quite hectic and, like I said, noisy. Not to a degree that it becomes more of a Noise Rock (or I guess it would be Noise Folk) album than anything but to a degree in which it feels very textured and psychedelic. And there are, surprisingly, vocals on this album, its mostly just moaning or screaming from Orcutt, but they are vocals nonetheless, and I quite enjoy them, they probably are not for everyone though. The album ends up getting so hectic and noisy, its magnificent that Orcutt could create such a wall of noise with an acoustic guitar. Or maybe guitars, I'm not entirely sure about the production of the album, so it could be layered with multiple instances of him freaking out on his acoustic guitar at once. Either way the sound he pulls off in this album is quite impressive. The recording quality on it appears to be pretty low. I'm almost positive that it's on purpose, to contribute to the fuzzy, noisy sound that this album pulls off so well. All in all this is a really interesting album from a man with a really nice track record.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Patty Waters - Patty Waters Sings (1965)

Patty Waters was along with Yoko Ono, Jeanne Lee, Joan La Barabara, and Shelley Hirsch one of the major pioneers of expanding the vocalist's vocabulary into an endless cacophonous world of abstract sadness and destructive elegance. After being noticed and praised by Albert Ayler in the early 60s, Patty Waters was introduced to the experimental jazz label ESP thus releasing "Patty Waters Sings", a two-faced traitor that surrounds the listener in an abstruse relationship of neediness and darkness.

AGF - Source Voice (2013)

There is perhaps a peculiar honesty to the human voice which has nothing to say - in the age of unspeakable horrors what truth is there of suffering than the pain of its incommunicability? The message, the content, which, under the weight of overdrivven fog, cannot even begin to articulate itself without being smothered, was the genius of How to Dress Well's Love Remains. But what is the result of content stripped of any content? What remains of the voice in this instance is the substrate of material suffering that Roland Barthes recognized as the "grain of the voice" - not just the texture of the voice, but also the material and historical body's instantiation and continuation as the voice. The grain of the voice is the texture is the voice below the level of semantic content (the "phenotext" versus the "genotext") and as such is the body materializing itself in and as voice. Adorno has located the material body, below the indentitarian perversions of rationalization, as the true site of suffering. Then the grain of the human voice - in its crying out as suffering - is the substrate of the substrate of suffering. It is the material imprint of suffering that will not even rise to the level of language's symbolic (and hence dangerously instrumental) rationality.

Boris - Akuma No Uta (2003)

Boris has a large and varied discography, but whenever anyone asks where to start, the response is almost always the same: Akuma No Uta. This album is a monolithic achievement for the Japanese trio, crossing into so many of the styles they've dabbled in, and bringing together so many varied sounds to make an extremely cohesive and well-made album - it's a great introduction to one of the best groups in modern music

Margaret Barry - I Sang Through the Fairs (1953, 1998)

Life has been drastically changing in Ireland. Over the past two centuries, a land once stricken with famine and poverty had eventually turned into a center of technological achievement. This sort of revolution signaled the end of the traditional ways of life in rural, and as well as urban areas of Ireland. One such example is the diminishing number of a race of people in Ireland known as "tinkers", otherwise known as "gypsies" or "travelling people". These nomadic people would wander through Ireland in horse-drawn caravans, finding work by mending pots and pans, trading, various odd jobs that could help them survive get on their way. As modernization occurred  these bands of tinkers would be split up by law enforcement and/or taken in for vagrancy. Their lines of work could not compare to the new industrious world they were living in; factories took over everything they were able to do. Before the end of the 20th century, the race of the tinker had died out.

Saul Williams - The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of NiggyTardust! (2007)

The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of NiggyTardust! is an album from New York born rapper, slam poet, and actor Saul Williams. He released his first album, Amethyst Rock Star, in 2001. Three years prior he starred in the movie which would launch his career, Slam, it won a Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance awards and raked in about $1,000,000 at the box office. If you enjoy this album I would highly recommend watching the film because it features a lot of great poetry from him. After Slam he released a few albums, including Amethyst Rocks Star, which, while not nearly as acidic as this, still has a bit of an Industrial influence.